the next generation.
But we’ve seen the consequences of this failure to take responsibility, this failure to seize the moment. We’ve seen the cycles of boom and bust. We’ve seen our dependence on foreign oil rise. We’ve seen health care premiums nearly double over the past eight years. We’ve seen our schools fall short. In other words, we’ve seen enough.
We can remain the world’s leading importer of foreign oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy. We can allow climate change to wreck unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs preventing its worst effects. We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can create those jobs right here in America.
We know the right choice. We have known the right choice for a generation. The time has come to make that choice, to act on what we know. And that’s why my budget makes a historic investment: $150 billion over 10 years in clean energy and energy efficiency, building on what we’ve achieved through the Recovery Plan.
And it includes a 10-year commitment to make the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit permanent. This is a tax credit that Serious Materials has used to grow its business, and one I’m sure others here today have used, as well. This is a tax credit that returns $2 to the economy for every dollar we spend.
Yet over the years we’ve allowed this credit to lapse or we’ve extended it year to year — even just a few months at a time. Under my budget, this tax credit will no longer fall prey to the whims of politics and partisanship. It will be far more effective when businesses like yours can count on it, when you’ve got some stability and reliability.
I’ve also proposed reducing to zero the capital gains tax for investments in small or startup businesses — expanding and making permanent one of the tax cuts in the recovery plan. And federal agencies will continue to set aside a portion of R&D budgets for small businesses, because small businesses are innovative businesses, producing 13 times more patents per employee than large companies.
Finally, building on the Recovery Plan my administration is implementing and the budget I have proposed, we will be pursuing comprehensive legislation to finally end our addiction to foreign oil and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, while creating the incentives to finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.
And we know how much promise this holds. Orion Energy Systems is a perfect example, which Neal Verfuerth — did I say that, Neal, properly?
MR. VERFUERTH: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Is that you right there?
MR. VERFUERTH: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Neal just spoke to you about this. Orion employs more than 250 people providing energy-saving lighting to Fortune 500 companies. And it recently began work on a new 70,000 square foot office and technology center.
Long before this success, Neal had tried his hands at clean energy. He bought two solar panel distributorships. But the